October 8, 2009 | 11:18 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
Earlier this year the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has wisely been engaging in a campaign to outreach to the successful and emerging Iranian Jewish community which is estimated to be between 40,000 and 45,000 in Southern California. On February 19th, the Federation officially launched its new “Iranian Outreach Initiative” with an intimate parlor meeting attended by 30 members of the Iranian Jewish community. The purpose of this meeting was to share the Federation’s goals and mission and to invite and encourage this active Iranian Jewish community to engage in the Federation’s many programs.
According to sources close to this journalist, the Federation established its “Iranian Outreach Initiative” in order to help bring together the Iranian and broader Jewish communities around shared Jewish values and interests. The initiative focuses on social and professional networking, education, Israel advocacy and social service opportunities. It also exposes Iranian Jews to the myriad involvement opportunities already existing within the Federation, including legal, medical, entertainment, financial services divisions, and the robust Israel and Overseas department. Ultimately, the initiative aims to help unify the entire Jewish community, embracing both shared and unique traditions, and strengthening the community through collaboration.
Kudos to those powers that be at the Federation for having the vision to create this initiative and realizing the true potential of the local Iranian Jewish community. As I’ve said in the past many times, Iranian American Jews living in Southern California are in a very special position where they can interact with both the Jewish community and the larger non-Jewish Iranian community, ultimately acting as a bridge between both worlds. The Iranian Jewish participation in a whole host of local programs and projects could potentially transform the entire state as Iranian Jews have gained tremendous financial, social and educational influence since their arrival in Southern California 30 years ago.
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